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Financial Planning

Common financial resolutions and how you can help your clients achieve them

Are your clients among those who are determined to improve their financial well-being? Americans love New Year’s resolutions, and this year, a full 76% made goals to be better with money, according to a new survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education/The Harris Poll.

Here are some of the common goals your clients may plan to focus on this year and a few ideas for how you can help support them in their quest to spend less, save more and achieve better financial health.

1. Spending vs. wasting money
 Suggest that your clients do an audit of where every dime goes. Sure, it can be difficult, but it may be eye-opening for them to see how much is wasted on unused gym memberships, food that goes bad and $10 mistakes filling the closet. Encourage them to shop for better plans for their cable, internet and phone. Maybe they should consider refinancing their mortgage or consolidating loans to save on interest. You can point them to some free or low-cost apps and remind them that you can help if they have questions about changes to their spending.

2. Tackling debt 
 Are your clients drowning in debt — or burying their head in the sand when it comes to what they owe? If they don’t already understand how much their debt is costing them, consider helping them calculate what they are spending on credit card interest and devise a plan to pay down their debt.

3. Milestone check 
— Did your client get married, divorced, start or sell a business, or lose a family member this year? Now is an ideal time for them to review their investments, insurance policies and estate plans.

4. Amp up savings — Stress to your clients the importance of bumping up their emergency, vacation and mad-money funds with automatic deductions or an app that automatically saves with every purchase made. One way to get the point across: send them a link to a compound interest calculator, which can demonstrate that if they start with just $5 and invest $50 a month over five years at 5 percent interest, they could end up with $3,321.

5. Read up — Everyone can still learn more about money. For clients who are open to it, you can make it a habit to thoughtfully share helpful articles or books to help them become savvier savers, spenders and investors.

Learning about money and setting goals is more of a marathon than a fast sprint. You can support your clients on their journey by checking in with them periodically to see how they’re doing and asking where they can use help and motivation.

Use this checklist to help prepare your clients for their annual retirement review.



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